By Adam Kolb
In a normal year, the Hutchinson Community College basketball teams would start their seasons during the fall semester. However, this has not been a normal year.
Like most sports at HutchCC, the basketball teams were forced to compete in the spring semester only, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has caused many concerns from students, teachers, and faculty, as well as coaches and players.
HutchCC men’s basketball coach Steve Eck said he is worried regarding how the season will unfold.
“I do have concerns,” Eck said.” I don’t really know how many games will be postponed or canceled because of Covid.”
Despite his worries, Eck said he has plenty of confidence that his team could go far this season, not only believing the Blue Dragons can compete for the league and Region 6 titles, but also the NJCAA national championship.
However, in order for the season to make it that far, precautions must be taken.
“We have to keep our team in a bubble and stay away from the virus,” Eck said. I know it is hard when you are in college and are around so many other students, but we kind of need to shelter ourselves.”
Practices have also been changed due to the pandemic.
“We haven’t been practicing as many minutes that we normally do,” Eck said. Some of the players wear their mask when they practice, and we try to keep social distancing when we have team meetings.”
While this season will be a different one for Eck, it will also be different for his players.
“I do have my concerns about the season being postponed due to Covid, but we are doing everything we can to have a season,” Baker said. “I’m praying everybody stays safe, wears a mask, and we can have the season.”
The pandemic hasn’t only affected the start of the men’s basketball team, but the Blue Dragon women have had to deal with changes as well.
“Covid has changed our whole preseason and the entire practice process,” freshman guard Yana Grassity said. “We had no workouts over the summer, and for Christmas break we had six weeks off not being around each other, and there were periods when the team was put in quarantine for weeks at a time.” Despite this, Grassity and the Blue Dragon women are ready to get the season going and keep the winning tradition alive for another year. Last year, the Blue Dragons made it to the NJCAA National Tournament, but never played a game there as the tournament was canceled due to Covid.
“It’s been rough,” Grassity said, “but since we’ve been back, we’ve been working hard and we are ready for the season to start.”
The Blue Dragon women will play the Bethany College JV on Friday at the Sports Arena, while the men will take on Seminole State College.